Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) shares are off by as much as 15% Wednesday morning on a report from Bloomberg that several vendors are slowing shipments or withholding products over concerns about the firm’s cash position. The Bloomberg report noted that three credit insurance providers are reducing or cancelling coverage of Sears, which caused at least one supplier to Sears to stop shipping products to the beleaguered retailer.
If confirmed, this situation is very bad news for Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD). The firm’s only real hope for a comeback is a strong holiday sales season, and that is very much in jeopardy without full cooperation from suppliers with this year’s in-demand products.
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Credit insurance providers reducing exposure to Sears
Bloomberg highlights that credit insurers — firms who provide suppliers insurance guaranteeing payment by a retailer — are starting to tighten the noose around Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD). David Huey, the president and regional director of North America for Atradius, said the credit insurance company is decreasing its Sears supplier coverage “as the problems have become more obvious.”
“We’ve reduced as we’ve seen the risk increase,” he said in a recent interview. Alhough no policies have been canceled yet, “it could happen,” he noted. “We’re reviewing it regularly.”
Statement from Sears
Illinois-based Sears said in a statement that it is working closely with vendors and has never paid anybody late.
“We continue to meet all of our obligations,” Chris Brathwaite, a company spokesman, noted in an e-mail statement. “We are continuing to work with our vendors and suppliers and are communicating with them regularly as we move through our transformation. To date, we’ve had no interruptions in the flow of goods to our company.”
Sears has been raising cash
Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) CEO Edward Lampert, who also is the firm’s largest shareholder, has recently been selling off assets to raise cash following more than two years of losses. The company announced plans to sell most of its stake in Sears Canada just a few days ago, which will lead to a cash infusion of around $380 million over the next few months.
Not including today, the stock is down by a quarter for the year, bringing its market value down to about $3.2 billion.